How To Clean Wood Stair Railings And Banisters

Wooden staircases provide beautiful elegance in any home. And because of their elegance, we know you’ll want to keep them clean! It’s pretty simple to clean a wooden staircase as long as you use the right products. But how do you clean wood stair railings and banisters? We’ve found the best methods to keep your staircase shining. 

The 6 best methods for cleaning your wood stair railings and banisters are as follows:

  • Water And Vinegar
  • Murphy Oil Soap
  • Orange Glo
  • Steam Cleaner
  • Dawn Dish Liquid
  • Pine-Sol

How are these methods used to keep your staircases clean? In this guide, we’ll go over each method in greater detail as well as cover other common railing and banister cleaning questions. So please, keep reading!

Brown wooden stair interior decorated modern style of residential house,Wooden stairs in the house, looking down, How To Clean Wood Stair Railings And Banisters

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6 Cleaning Methods For Wood Stair Railings And Banisters

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A curved oak staircase with wooden banisters and a light gray tiled flooring

The first step in cleaning your wooden railings and banisters is to make sure to wipe down any dust or debris from the top to the bottom. Use a dry clean cloth to wipe off the loose particles and then vacuum them up. After the area is wiped up, you can continue with one of the following 6 methods to deep clean the wood.

1. Water And Vinegar

Water and vinegar can be used to clean almost anything. It is a natural, non-toxic way to clean things without worrying about abrasive chemicals and fumes. After all of the dust and debris are removed from the railings and banister, spray a mixture of water and vinegar (1:1 ratio) on a cloth and wipe down the wood. It removes dirt, grime, odors, and kills bacteria, viruses, and mold. 

Chemical free home cleaner products concept. Using natural destilled white vinegar in spray bottle to remove stains. Tools on wooden table, green bokeh background, copy space.

2. Murphy Oil Soap

Murphy Oil Soap is highly recommended when cleaning wood. It’s safe to use on finished surfaces and will clean and restore as it is used. It is a 98% natural cleaning solution and again, has no harmful fumes. It can also be used on wooden furniture, cabinets, and floors.

3. Orange Glo

Orange Glo is also a highly recommended product for wood surfaces. It conditions and cleans the wood at the same time. It will polish the wood with the oils found in orange peels. This cleaner contains no alcohol, water, or wax. While it polishes, cleans and conditions, it simultaneously removes grease and dirt build-up easily.

Orange Glo is another natural cleaner without hard chemicals and fumes. It has a sweet orange scent that you will not mind in your home.

4. Steam Cleaner

You can opt to call in a professional to clean your wooden banisters and railings, but you can also do it yourself. There are many portable steamers that you can get for an affordable price.

All you have to do is fill it with water and spray. The steam will help get off any built-up dirt and grime. After steaming the first section, wipe away the dirt and water with a dry clean cloth. If you choose, you can add polish to the wood after this is done. 

This portable steam cleaner comes with 9 accessories, making it super simple to use on your stairs.

5. Dawn Dish Liquid

Dawn dish liquid is safe for everything. This includes wood. Using a few squirts of dawn dish liquid in warm water will clean away dirt, grease, and disinfect at the same time. Clean off your railings and banisters with the soap and water mixture and then wipe dry with a clean cloth.

There are no harsh chemicals or fumes to worry about. It is safe for pets and children alike. It also has a very mild scent.

6. Pine-Sol

Pine-Sol can be used to clean wooden areas; however, it is suggested to test a small area first. This is to see if it may discolor the wood or cause a breakdown. If the solution is well diluted, it should not be a problem.

To dilute, you use 1/4 cup of Pine-Sol per gallon of water. Use a clean cloth and dip it into the solution. Wipe down the railings and banisters and allow them to dry. This is a great disinfectant and comes in so many great scents like pine, lavender, lemon, and sparkling wave.

What Solutions Should You Not Use On Wood?

When cleaning anything wooden, you need to avoid things containing ammonia. This not only has strong fumes but can take off finishes and wear down the wood. Bleach is not recommended either due to discoloration of the wood or stain.

Also, be careful using lemon juices directly on finishes. It can cause the varnish or finish to come off or discolor, as well. However, incorporating lemon juice into various natural cleaning solutions can give your wood a nice sparkle and scent.

When cleaning, use a soft clean cloth. Microfiber is an excellent choice. Avoid an abrasive sponge or pad so as to not scratch or damage the wood or finish. 

How Long Does It Take To Clean Wood Stair Railings And Banisters?

Wooden stairs and handrail

It really depends on how long and how dirty they are. If there is a lot of build-up and grime, it could take some time to bring back the luster and make it look clean. Grease is another time-consuming thing to clean off wood. It takes patience. If the banister and railings are not very dirty, it should not take more than a half-hour to thoroughly clean them. 

How Often Should You Clean Stair Railings And Banisters?

Brown wooden stair interior decorated modern style of residential house,Wooden stairs in the house, looking down.

It is recommended to wipe them down daily. If they are located in a high traffic area, maybe a few times a day. Keep them disinfected and clean so as to not pass germs. 

Everything in your home should get a deep clean at least every month. Every two weeks would be best, but that’s not always practical. 

How Do You Get Stains Out Of A Wooden Banister?

Many of the cleaners listed above will remove stains from the wood. Dawn dish liquid will also remove some stains. Use a clean cloth and rub over the stain with the preferred solution to eventually get the stain out. Sometimes, unfortunately, you may just have to live with stubborn stains on your wooden banister. 

What Is The Best Natural Wood Cleaner?

A bottle of Orange Glo Hardwood Floor Refinisher. Manuffactured by Church and Dwight Co, in Ewing, New Jersey.

We recommend using the Orange Glo. It is very effective in disinfection, lifting grease, and removing dirt build-up. It provides a fresh scent and is non-abrasive. 

In Closing

There are many ways to clean wooden banisters and railings. Many cleaners on the market are natural and smell wonderful. You can also just use water and vinegar if you prefer. You do not need the fanciest cleaner on the market to get rid of the dirt and grime!

For more cleaning and home caretaking tips, please read the following articles:

How To Clean A Glass Dining Table (And Keep It Clean Too)?

How To Clean A Wood Dining Table

A rustic themed living room with wooden flooring, light brown painted walls, and a wooden banister, How To Clean Wood Stair Railings And Banisters
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